Breast cancer risk in monozygotic and dizygotic female twins: a 20-year population-based cohort study in Finland from 1976 to 1995

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1999 Mar;8(3):271-4.

Abstract

This population-based study investigated the occurrence of breast cancer over a 20-year period in a cohort of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins in Finland. Altogether, 13,176 female twins of known zygosity who were living in Finland at the end of 1975 were identified from the Finnish Twin Cohort Study and followed-up for cancer through the Finnish Cancer Registry for the years 1976-1995. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated, based on national cancer incidence rates. The relative risk of breast cancer for MZ twins compared to DZ twins was decreased [SIR(MZ)/SIR(DZ) ratio = 0.78; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.58-1.0]; the decreased risk for MZ twins (SIR = 0.76; 95% CI, 0.58-1.0) accounted for this result, whereas the risk for DZ twins did not differ from the general population risk (SIR = 0.98; 95% CI, 0.84-1.1). There was no risk decrease among MZ twins in other cancers related to reproductive behavior; i.e., number of children and age at first birth seem not to explain the decreased risk of breast cancer. Our results, which are in line with earlier studies on the same topic, suggest that prenatal influences or postnatal behavioral factors may protect MZ female twins from breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Marital Status
  • Maternal Age
  • Middle Aged
  • Parity
  • Population Surveillance
  • Registries
  • Reproductive History
  • Risk Factors
  • Twins, Dizygotic* / genetics
  • Twins, Monozygotic* / genetics